PLANS for a 330-acre quarry between Dorchester and Bovington have been submitted.
The scheme, on land at Hurst Farm and Station Road, Moreton, would see around 11.5 million tonnes of sand and gravel extracted.
Raymond Brown Quarry Products Ltd (RBQP) has submitted the application – which includes an ‘office/visitor centre, car park, internal haul road, bridged conveyor crossing, erection of an aggregate processing plant, aggregate bagging plant, ready mix concrete plant and ancillary buildings’ – to Dorset Council.
The sites were allocated for ‘mineral development’ in the Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Dorset Mineral Sites Plan 2019, which was adopted by Dorset and BCP Councils.
Plans for a phased development of the sites would see around 135 hectares (333 acres) of land used for the quarry.
Outlining the scheme, the application said: “It is proposed to develop Hurst Farm and Station Road as one combined quarry, working in a phased manner at Hurst Farm and subsequently with the installation of a field conveyor system bridging over the B3390 in order to access and extract the Station Road mineral reserve.
“Binnegar Quarry, a local quarry operated by RBQP is nearing exhaustion and therefore it is envisaged that should planning consent be granted, then the proposed development would commence immediately.”
The Hurst Farm area would be developed initially, followed by Station Road.
The application said consultation with residents, particularly in nearby Crossways and Moreton, had seen changes made to the design to minimise the visual impact and to protect plant species, including rare Heath Lobelia in the Hurst Heath and Ragged Firs areas.
And planting has already started in some areas to ‘provide time for the establishment of planting prior to the commencement of development, should planning consent be granted’, the application said.
“The proposal also provides an overall increase in hedgerow, tree and scrub planting to improve the diversity of habitat creation and increase the biodiversity net gain within the locality for the long term,” it went on.
It is proposed the site would work between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, and between 7am and 1pm on Saturday.
Restoration of the site, once the quarry is closed, would entail ‘generally returning land to existing ground levels for agricultural use and integrated lakes, ponds and scrapes,” the application added.
It added: “The area of Hurst Heath/Ragged Firs will be subject to a major restoration project aimed at restoring it back to a mixture of wet and dry heathland with native woodland areas, for the benefit of the population of the nationally rare species Heath Lobelia Lobelia urens, that is present but currently in an unfavourable and precarious conservation status.”
To see the full application, and to comment on the plans, log on to www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk and search for application reference P/FUL/2023/03982.